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4 October 1996
Fruit fly larvae and eggs have been intercepted by MAF Quarantine Officers in two commercial consignments of Tongan watermelons at the port of Auckland this week. The fruit fly are from the Tephitidae family, which is the family containing most of the harmful and unwanted fruit fly species.
In the first consignment, thirteen dead fruit fly larvae and a number of eggs (possibly viable) were intercepted during a routine inspection.
In the second consignment, two dead larvae and a number of eggs (also possibly viable) were discovered during a routine inspection. All the fruit fly were of the species Bactrocera xanthodes (there is no common name for this species).
Both consignments (six shipping containers in the first case and two in the second) had been certified by Tonga MAF as having been fumigated with methyl bromide prior to export. In accordance with New Zealand’s international phytosanitary agreement with Tonga, covering the importation of fruit fly host material, the offending consignments are being held until it has been determined whether or not the fruit fly eggs are viable. The eggs in question are currently being incubated, at the Lynfield Plant Protection Centre in Auckland, for the purposes of viability tests.
Another consignment from Tonga on the same vessel is also being held until such time as the results of the viability tests are known, even though no fruit fly were found in it.
Media inquiries to:
Kevin Nalder, International Operations Co-ordinator (Plant Imports) (04) 474 4243
Debbie Gee, Manager Corporate Communications, (04) 474 4258